Istanbul is the golden gateway to the Orient, a city that was once the centre of the Old World and still reflects two and a half centuries of history. Today, this turbulent metropolis on the Bosporus is Europe's connection with Asia Minor.
Today, this link between Europe and Asia has more than 15 million inhabitants and is not only Turkey's largest city, but is also a melting pot of various cultures. Once a Greek colony, Roman Imperial City and capital of the Osman Empire, Istanbul is full of colorful and dramatic history.
The European-style city district on the northern side of the Golden Horn was founded as a trading colony by Genoese traders in 1261. In subsequent centuries, the Europeans dominated the appearance and character of this area whose buildings and main street indicate the city's splendid past.
The Basilica Yerebatan Cistern once provided Constantinople with its water supply. Emperor Justinian I had this subterranean reservoir built. It holds 80,000 cubic metres of water. A forest of more than 300 decorated stone columns support the ceiling and it once served as a backdrop for a James Bond film.
A mighty gate is the entrance to the splendid world of the Turkish sultans, Topkapi Palace, the former centre of power of the Osman Empire. it's like a small town with many exquisite buildings and wonderful parks.
Leonardo Da Vinci's vision of a bridge across the Bosporus was for many years only a dream, but 470 years later, the dream became reality. At a height of 64 metres, two city districts have been united in addition to two continents and the contrasting lifestyles of two completely different worlds.
Istanbul is a melting pot of culture and religion with a captivating allure and an irresistible atmosphere of mystique.